MPEP 213.06
Claiming Priority and Filing a Certified Copy in a National Stage Application (

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in January 2018

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213.06    Claiming Priority and Filing a Certified Copy in a National Stage Application (35 U.S.C. 371) [R-08.2017]

37 C.F.R. 1.55  Claim for foreign priority.

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  • (d) Time for filing priority claim—
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    • (2) Application under 35 U.S.C. 371. The claim for priority must be made within the time limit set forth in the PCT and the Regulations under the PCT in an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, except as provided in paragraph (e) of this section.

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  • (f) Time for filing certified copy of foreign application—
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    • (2) Application under 35 U.S.C. 371. A certified copy of the foreign application must be filed within the time limit set forth in the PCT and the Regulations under the PCT in an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371. If a certified copy of the foreign application is not filed during the international stage in an international application in which the national stage commenced on or after December 18, 2013, a certified copy of the foreign application must be filed within the later of four months from the date on which the national stage commenced under 35 U.S.C. 371(b) or (f) 1.491(a) ), four months from the date of the initial submission under 35 U.S.C. 371 to enter the national stage, or sixteen months from the filing date of the prior foreign application, except as provided in paragraphs (h), (i), and (j) of this section.

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PCT Rule 4

The Request (Contents)

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4.10 Priority Claim

  • (a) Any declaration referred to in Article 8(1) ("priority claim") may claim the priority of one or more earlier applications filed either in or for any country party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or in or for any Member of the World Trade Organization that is not party to that Convention. Any priority claim shall be made in the request; it shall consist of a statement to the effect that the priority of an earlier application is claimed and shall indicate:
    • (i) the date on which the earlier application was filed;
    • (ii) the number of the earlier application;
    • (iii) where the earlier application is a national application, the country party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property or the Member of the World Trade Organization that is not party to that Convention in which it was filed;
    • (iv) where the earlier application is a regional application, the authority entrusted with the granting of regional patents under the applicable regional patent treaty;
    • (v) where the earlier application is an international application, the receiving Office with which it was filed.
  • (b) In addition to any indication required under paragraph (a)(iv) or (v):
    • (i) where the earlier application is a regional application or an international application, the priority claim may indicate one or more countries party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property for which that earlier application was filed;
    • (ii) where the earlier application is a regional application and at least one of the countries party to the regional patent treaty is neither party to the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property nor a Member of the World Trade Organization, the priority claim shall indicate at least one country party to that Convention or one Member of the Organization for which that earlier application was filed.
  • (c) For the purposes of paragraphs (a) and (b), Article 2(vi) shall not apply.
  • (d) If, on September 29, 1999, paragraphs (a) and (b) as amended with effect from January 1, 2000, are not compatible with the national law applied by a designated Office, those paragraphs as in force until December 31, 1999, shall continue to apply after that date in respect of that designated Office for as long as the said paragraphs as amended continue not to be compatible with that law, provided that the said Office informs the International Bureau accordingly by October 31, 1999. The information received shall be promptly published by the International Bureau in the Gazette.

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PCT Rule 17

The Priority Document

17.1. Obligation to Submit Copy of Earlier National or International Application

  • (a) Where the priority of an earlier national or international application is claimed under Article 8, a copy of that earlier application, certified by the authority with which it was filed ("the priority document"), shall, unless that priority document has already been filed with the receiving Office together with the international application in which the priority claim is made, and subject to paragraphs (b) and (b-bis), be submitted by the applicant to the International Bureau or to the receiving Office not later than 16 months after the priority date, provided that any copy of the said earlier application which is received by the International Bureau after the expiration of that time limit shall be considered to have been received by that Bureau on the last day of that time limit if it reaches it before the date of international publication of the international application.
  • (b) Where the priority document is issued by the receiving Office, the applicant may, instead of submitting the priority document, request the receiving Office to prepare and transmit the priority document to the International Bureau. Such request shall be made not later than 16 months after the priority date and may be subjected by the receiving Office to the payment of a fee. (b-bis) Where the priority document is, in accordance with the Administrative Instructions, made available to the International Bureau from a digital library prior to the date of international publication of the international application, the applicant may, instead of submitting the priority document, request the International Bureau, prior to the date of international publication, to obtain the priority document from such digital library.

  • (c) If the requirements of none of the three preceding paragraphs are complied with, any designated Office may, subject to paragraph (d), disregard the priority claim, provided that no designated Office shall disregard the priority claim before giving the applicant an opportunity to furnish the priority document within a time limit which shall be reasonable under the circumstances.
  • (d) No designated Office shall disregard the priority claim under paragraph (c) if the earlier application referred to in paragraph (a) was filed with it in its capacity as national Office or if the priority document is, in accordance with the Administrative Instructions, available to it from a digital library.

17.2. Availability of Copies

  • (a) Where the applicant has complied with Rule 17.1(a), (b) or (b-bis), the International Bureau shall, at the specific request of the designated Office, promptly but not prior to the international publication of the international application, furnish a copy of the priority document to that Office. No such Office shall ask the applicant himself to furnish it with a copy. The applicant shall not be required to furnish a translation to the designated Office before the expiration of the applicable time limit under Article 22. Where the applicant makes an express request to the designated Office under Article 23(2) prior to the international publication of the international application, the International Bureau shall, at the specific request of the designated Office, furnish a copy of the priority document to that Office promptly after receiving it.
  • (b) The International Bureau shall not make copies of the priority document available to the public prior to the international publication of the international application.
  • (c) Where the international application has been published under Article 21, the International Bureau shall furnish a copy of the priority document to any person upon request and subject to reimbursement of the cost unless, prior to that publication:
    • (i) the international application was withdrawn,
    • (ii) the relevant priority claim was withdrawn or considered, under Rule 26bis.2(b), not to have been made.

37 C.F.R. 1.451  The priority claim and priority document in an international application.

  • (a) The claim for priority must, subject to paragraph (d) of this section, be made on the Request (PCT Rule 4.10 ) in a manner complying with sections 110 and 115 of the Administrative Instructions.
  • (b) Whenever the priority of an earlier United States national application or international application filed with the United States Receiving Office is claimed in an international application, the applicant may request in the Request or in a letter of transmittal accompanying the international application upon filing with the United States Receiving Office or in a separate letter filed in the United States Receiving Office not later than 16 months after the priority date, that the United States Patent and Trademark Office prepare a certified copy of the prior application for transmittal to the International Bureau (PCT Article 8 and PCT Rule 17 ). The fee for preparing a certified copy is set forth in § 1.19(b)(1).
  • (c) If a certified copy of the priority document is not submitted together with the international application on filing, or, if the priority application was filed in the United States and a request and appropriate payment for preparation of such a certified copy do not accompany the international application on filing or are not filed within 16 months of the priority date, the certified copy of the priority document must be furnished by the applicant to the International Bureau or to the United States Receiving Office within the time limit specified in PCT Rule 17.1(a).
  • (d) The applicant may correct or add a priority claim in accordance with PCT Rule 26bis.1.

37 CFR 1.55(d)(2) and (f)(2) pertain to the time for filing a priority claim and the time for filing a certified copy of a foreign application in an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.

In an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, the claim for priority must be made and a certified copy of the foreign application must be filed within the time limit set forth in the PCT and the Regulations under the PCT with limited exceptions. See MPEP §§ 214.02 and 215.02. Note that it is permissible, but not required, to present the claim for priority in an application data sheet in an international application entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371.

An international application which seeks to establish the right of priority must comply with the conditions and requirements as prescribed by the Treaty and the PCT Regulations, in order to avoid rejection of the claim to the right of priority. Reference is especially made to the requirement of making a declaration of the claim of priority at the time of filing of the international application (Article 8(1) of the Treaty and Rule 4.10 of the PCT Regulations) or correcting or adding a priority claim (PCT Rule 26bis.1 ) and the requirement of either filing a certified copy of the priority document with the international application, or submitting a certified copy of the priority document to the International Bureau at a certain time (Rule 17 of the PCT Regulations). The submission of the priority document to the International Bureau is only required in those instances where priority is based on an earlier filed foreign national application. With respect to the requirements of 37 CFR 1.55 as they pertain to applications entering the national stage under 35 U.S.C. 371, if the applicant submitted a certified copy of the foreign priority document in compliance with PCT Rule 17 during the international phase, the International Bureau will forward a copy of the certified priority document to each Designated Office that has requested a copy of the foreign priority document and the copy received from the International Bureau is acceptable to establish that applicant has filed a certified copy of the priority document. See MPEP § 1893.03(c). If, however, the International Bureau is unable to forward a copy of the certified priority document because the applicant failed to submit a certified copy of the foreign priority document during the international phase, the applicant will need to provide a certified copy of the priority document or have the Office retrieve the priority application in accordance with the priority document exchange program during the national stage to fulfill the requirements of 37 CFR 1.55.

If the priority document is an earlier national application and did not accompany the international application when filed with the Receiving Office, an applicant must submit such document to the International Bureau not later than 16 months after the priority date. However, should an applicant request early processing of the international application in accordance with Article 23(2) of the Treaty, the priority document may not be available to the Office at that time (Rule 17.2(a) of the PCT Regulations). Applicants are encouraged to check the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system to verify that the certified copy has been received from the International Bureau. The formal requirements for obtaining the right of priority under 35 U.S.C. 365 differ somewhat from those imposed by 35 U.S.C. 119(a) -(d) and (f), however, the substantive right of priority is the same, in that it is derived from Article 4 of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (Article 8(2) of the Treaty).

35 U.S.C. 365(c) recognizes the benefit of the filing date of an earlier application under 35 U.S.C. 120. Any international application designating the United States, whether filed with a Receiving Office in this country or abroad, and even though other countries may have also been designated, has the effect of a regular national application in the United States, as of the international filing date. As such, any later filed national application, or international application designating the United States, may claim the benefit of the filing date of an earlier international application designating the United States, if the requirements and conditions of 35 U.S.C. 120 are fulfilled. Under the same circumstances, the benefit of the earlier filing date of a national application may be obtained in a later filed international application designating the United States. See MPEP § 211.01(c).

In those instances, where the applicant relies on an international application designating, but not originating in, the United States the Director may require submission of a copy of such application together with an English translation, since in some instances, and for various reasons, a copy of that international application or its translation might not otherwise be filed in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.